Can't Hug People? Hug A Tree, Says Iceland Forest Service

April 16, 2020

The Icelandic Forestry Service is encouraging people to hug trees while social distancing measures prevent people from being in contact with other people.

hug a tree coronavirus
Photo: Rúnar Snær Reynisson - RÚV

Forest rangers in Hallormsstaður National Forest in Iceland have been clearing snow-covered paths to ensure that locals can enjoy the great outdoors without coming in contact with other visitors.

Forest rangers say trees and nature can offer a sense of comfort and joy.

"When you hug [a tree], you feel it first in your toes and then up your legs and into your chest and then up into your head," says forest ranger Þór Þorfinnsson. "It's such a wonderful feeling of relaxation and then you're ready for a new day and new challenges."


He also encourages a good, long hug.

"Five minutes is really good, if you can give yourself five minutes of your day to hug [a tree], that's definitely enough," he says. "You can also do it many times a day – that wouldn't hurt. But once a day will definitely do the trick, even for just a few days."

hug a tree coronavirus

Þorfinnsson added that it is dangerous to hug the same tree, so he recommends that people walk deeper into the forest, rather than stopping at the first tree they encounter.

"There is enough of the trees now so people don't have to hug the same tree," he said. "It doesn't have to be big and black. It can be all sizes but the main thing is to crush it a bit. It is also good to close your eyes while hugging a tree. I lean my cheek against the tree and find the warmth and currents flowing from the tree into me."

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